How to Apply for a Visa to America

Updated March 23, 2017

The United States offers several different visas for people who wish to enter the United States. For those that wish to enter as a tourist or for purposes of pleasure they must apply for a B2 visa. The B2 visa will allow you to enter the United States for pleasure for stays up to three months, and often most visas will allow you to enter the country multiple amounts of time.

Obtain a national passport and additional passport photo. You will need to submit your passport as well as the additional passport photo with the application package. Also the visa application will ask you several questions regarding information on your passport so it is important that you have this information available when you complete the application form.

Complete the DS-156 Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form. This is an electronic application form and can be completed on the United States Department of State website (see Resources). The application will ask you several questions regarding your contact information, passport information, citizen information, work experiences and educational history.

Print out the application confirmation page. You will be required to take the confirmation page to your visa interview appointment. You will submit the confirmation page along with allow other documentation that you have compiled.

Familiarise yourself with the Consular Services section of the United States embassy/consulate website that is closest to your location. There is vital information that the United States government provides for you and it changes depending on where you reside so log onto the website as it will help you in the future steps (see Resources).

Make a visa appointment. The visa appointment can be made at the United States embassy website for the embassy closest to your current location.

Compile additional documentation. Additional documentation will vary depending on what location you are in so make sure to check the United States embassy/ consulate website. However, some information that is commonly requested is health records, criminal records, proof of financial stability during your trip to the United States and proof of traveller's insurance.

Pay the application fees. The application fees must also be paid on the United States embassy/consulate website closest to your location. Once you pay the fees, print out the receipt. You will need to take the receipt to your interview appointment along with all of the other documentation that you have compiled.

Attend your visa interview appointment. Here you will submit all of your paperwork and the immigration officer will ask you some questions on why you wish to enter the United States. He will also try and get a feel for your intentions of why you will be entering the country. Your visa will be approved or denied within one to two days of the interview.

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About the Author

Kristina Werden has been writing professionally since 2008. She has been published in California State University, Los Angeles’ academic historical journal “Perspectives” and online publications such as USA Today, eHow, Trails Travel, Livestong, Answerbag, and Werden currently holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and philosophy from California State University, Los Angeles.